Florida would’ve like to played last week to figure out its offensive issues, but now has to begin SEC play with enormous questions. But bettors don’t care about that after Tennessee struggled in its opener and have the Gators as -5 point home favorites for this Game as at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
Florida could do nothing in its opening loss to Michigan as it mustered only three offensive points, while the defense returned a couple interceptions for two touchdowns. Finding a consistent starting quarterback will be the main issue as Feleipe Franks was named starter once again. The Vols didn’t look great in their first Game, but still managed a win, which was what this team did all of last year, including when these teams last played.
After falling behind 21-3 in the first half, Tennessee came out and dominated the second with the help of quarterback Joshua Dobbs throwing Four touchdowns as the Volunteers improbably won 38-28. With plenty of different players on both sides of the football, there’s a number of ways this Game can go.
Franks will start at quarterback for Florida, but if things go similar to the Michigan Game, Malik Zaire could end up finishing. While Tennessee’s defense isn’t as good as Michigan’s, neither of these quarterbacks is guaranteed to succeed. There also remains the question if whether top running back Jordan SCarlett and top wide out Antonio Callaway would be made available for this Game after being suspended for the first one. Both guys led the team in their respective categories when these teams met last season and would undoubtedly give the offense a boost.
There are multiple unknowns for the Tennessee defense after giving up 41 points to Georgia Tech in the first week. Florida doesn’t run the triple-option, but should at least find more room to move the ball in this Game.
There’s another question for the Tennessee offense as it still hasn’t faced a great defense. The QB-RB duo of Quinten Dormady and John Kelly has looked electric at times, but it’s hard to see UT being able to run as easily on Florida as it did its first two Games. The Gators were dominated by Michigan in their first Game, but again, Tennessee is not at the same level as Michigan, or at least that’s the consensus thought. If Kelly can’t find as much as room on the ground, Dormady will have more on his shoulders, which may not be a good thing. He has completed 60% of his passes for Four touchdowns, but those numbers may not mean much here.
The Volunteers won this Game due to the superior play of Dobbs at quarterback in last year’s meeting. With no one at that same level in this year’s meeting, it’s hard to see one player standing out above the rest. Florida doesn’t have a dominant playmaker offensively, while Dormady remains a work in progress. Being a five-point favorite seems like a lot for a team that couldn’t do many things right in its first Game and still doesn’t have a hands-down starter under center.
Our Pick – The points look to good to pass up here. After losing 11 straight in this series, the Vols finally broke thru with a win last year. The feeling here is that they start a series winning streak of their own with two straight. This Game appears to be a toss up that’s decided late in the 4th. In that type of Game, we always want points in Our pocket. Tennessee +4.5